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Crooked River    by Valerie Geary order for
Crooked River
by Valerie Geary
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2015 (2014)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Because of the unexpected death of their mother, Samantha (fifteen) and Ollie (ten) have moved into a tent in a meadow in rural Oregon. Their father has lived there alone for a number of years and they always visited for the month of August. Now the situation has changed, and they have no home to go back to when Fall arrives.

While whiling away a day by the banks of Crooked River, they discover a dead body! A woman who floated by! They feel Crooked River is their very own and don't want anyone or anything to spoil their favorite spot in the world. Instead of telling anyone about this poor soul, Sam and Ollie keep the secret, feeling their father would get the blame for the woman's death. Most in the small town consider their father (called Bear) a little off. Things escalate and life spirals out of control.

Crooked River by Valerie Geary has many characters but none as vivid as the countryside surrounding the meadow that means so much to Bear and his girls. Geary's finely crafted descriptions of Oregon's rural scenery defy comparison. I think I would gladly live in a tent should I have the opportunity to spend some time where Sam and Ollie live.

The plot of Crooked River is a sound one, well developed from a fertile mind. Life is never easy, as we all know, but it does seem as though Sam, Ollie and Bear are getting the wrong end of the stick. Listed as a thriller, this book delves into the psychological aspects of dealing with a death, as well as the human relationships that are so important to our well-being. Put Crooked River at the top of your must-read pile.

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